STUDENTS from the University of the Philippines (UP) will hold a six-day system-wide online mock election starting Thursday to know the general sentiment of the student community before they hit the summer break.

Organized by the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (Stand-UP) in partnership with the UP Linux User’s Group (Unplug) and the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), the exercise will serve as the voice of the 65,000-strong UP students in the upcoming elections.

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Incoming University Student Council (USC) Chairperson Rainier Sindayen said he is expecting a 60-percent turnout of the 22,000 student population at the flagship campus in Diliman.

“Aside from advocating for a clean, transparent, and honest elections on May 10, we will be presenting a 10-point agenda of the UP studentry to the presidential candidates,” Sindayen said.

In a separate Facebook invitation, organizers of the “Botong Isko 2010” posted the instructions on how students could cast their vote.

“The online polls will entail students to login to a website (in any computer with an internet connection) using their student number and a generated password. They can choose their preferred candidates from president, vice president, senators, and party-list on the given list. The website will also feature the platforms and programs of the national candidates,” the announcement read.

An online petition for clean and honest elections will also be administered, it added.

Sindayen said the winner of the mock poll will be required to ink a covenant that will push for the education, youth, and people’s agenda if he wins Malacanang on May 10.

Meanwhile, Unplug vice president Jose Paolo Bernardo said UP is more than ready for the political exercise.

“Sa ngayon finafinalize na yung dedicated website para sa kaniya (botongisko2010.com), nilalagay dun yung lahat ng info na kailangang makita ng mga bibisita. Tapos, para dun sa mock elections, minodify pa ulit yung software para maaccomodate yung needs nung mock elections (like yung sa password kasi, last name ang gagamitin). Maliban dun, pineprepare na rin namin yung manual para maipakalat na,” Bernardo told Sun.Star.

“So masasabi naman na ready na yung para sa mock elections, kailangan na lang plantsahin yung mga maliliit pang detalye at syempre, paghandaan kung anuman yung mga posibleng maging mga problema,” he added.

The results of the online voting will be revealed on March 24.

In a recent vote, mass communication students from UP-Diliman picked Bagumbayan bet Senator Richard Gordon over popularity survey front-runners Senator Noynoy Aquino of the Liberal Party and Senator Manny Villar of Nacionalista Party.

Gordon garnered 139 votes, followed by Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard bearer former Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro with 107 votes while cousin Noynoy had 48 votes.

Gordon finished law in UP in 1975 and even served as a member of the USC in 1969.

Fifteen students, representing 4.05 percent of the total voter turnout, abstained in the presidential survey. The college has 1,086 enrolled students. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)